Rs 744cr dalit fund diverted for Games

Rs 744cr dalit fund diverted for Games

New Delhi, July, 16 : The state government has over the past five years been systematically diverting funds meant for the development of Scheduled Caste communities to projects related to the Commonwealth Games, a reply to an RTI query has revealed. Since 2006, Rs 744 crore has been used up from the Scheduled Caste sub plan fund for Games-related projects of various departments.

Releasing the findings on Thursday, an NGO Housing and Land Rights Network called for an inquiry by a parliamentary sub-committee into the diversion of the funds which it said violated all norms of governance.

The RTI query was addressed to the city's department of social welfare the agency in charge of SC/ST/OBC/minorities which furnished the details. HRLN and the National Dalit Campaign for Human Rights said the funds were used for projects of MCD, NDMC, DJB and departments of urban development and sports and youth, among others.

The RTI reply said that in 2006-07, Rs 1.97 crore was diverted from the special component fund and spent on Commonwealth Games-related projects. In 2007-08, Rs 15.58 crore was used from the fund. The amount rose to Rs 214.73 crore in 2008-09 and Rs 288.44 crore in 2009-10. In 2010-11 so far the amount diverted for CWG projects is Rs 233.64 crore.

In another RTI application filed by HRLN with the Organizing Committee of the Commonwealth Games on the Agra trip being organized for the 8,000-odd athletes and delegates, the OC said the cost of the trip would be Rs 1.71 crore.

HRLN said the diversion of money violated norms governing special component plan funds. The norms, put in place by the Planing Commission and the National Development Council, clearly state that the fund is meant for micro development works for the Scheduled Caste communities. Government of India rules have repeatedly emphasized that the funds allocated under the SCP have to be disbursed exclusively for the benefit of those belonging to the SC communities, HRLN activists said. Delhi has a Dalit population estimated at 2.34 million.

HRLN has also written to the Comptroller and Auditor General seeking an audit into the exact expenditure on the Commonwealth Games to date and the diversion of funds from SC sub plan component

Dalit cooks in UP schools spark outrage

Kanpur, July, 16 : The Uttar Pradesh government directive to state-run schools on employing Dalit cooks has brought into focus the caste tension that prevails even among primary students. The issue has acquired greater prominence, with the panchayat elections two months away. In the districts of Kanpur Dehat, Kannauj and Auraiya (all in central UP), an atmosphere of confrontation has been created in 22 primary schools between upper orders and Dalits, with the former refusing to eat what scheduled caste (SC) cooks prepare.

The April 24 order says all primary schools having 26-100 students will have to employ two cooks, one of whom must be SC. A school with 101-200 students must have three cooks — one from the general category, one SC, and one from the other backward classes. A school with 201-300 students has to hire two SC cooks, one from the other backward classes, and one from the general category. Each cook is being paid Rs 1,000 a month.

In Kannauj there have been protests on this issue. The parents of upper-caste students assaulted district officials when Sub-Divisional Magistrate Manoj Singhal forced students to have food prepared by an SC woman. Government vehicles were set afire.

Looking to arrest trouble, Kannauj District Magistrate Govind Raju NS has cancelled all the appointments of cooks made by village heads.

Kanpur Dehat District Magistrate SK Tewari has a different take on the issue on the problem in his district.

He said, "People were angry with the local village headman. They prevented their children from going to school as a protest against non-development." "The issue was twisted and politicised," he said

Panchayat strips and thrashes Dalit women in Bihar

Patna, July, 16 : A dalit woman and her mother were stripped and assaulted at the diktat of a village panchayat in Bihar recently.

The shameful incident took place in Yogidih village under Chandramandih police station of Jamui district.

The police said 30-year-old Phulwanti Devi and her mother Sakuna Devi were disrobed in front of the village for disobeying panchayat members.

The officer in-charge of the police station, Sakaldeo Yadav, said Phulwanti feared for her life and had lodged an FIR against 15 villagers. Subsequently, four persons were arrested, including the village sarpanch Dhanraj Thakur.

"The village sarpanch and others accused Phulwanti of being of loose character after there was a rumour about her relationship with Budhan Yadav from an adjoining village a month and a half ago," said Yadav.

In her FIR, Phulwanti stated Thakur and the others summoned Budhan to the panchayat even though she hadn't lodged any complaint against him. She claimed the panchayat members wanted her to press rape charges against Budhan, but she refused.

The panchayat also allegedly tried to mint money after casting aspersions on Phulwanti's character, the victim alleged.

They imposed a fine of Rs 50,000 on Budhan.

When his father pleaded with the panchayat that he had no money, the amount was reduced to Rs 30,000 and then to Rs 11,000.

The police said Budhan's father could manage only Rs 9,000, which he gave to the panchayat members and asked for more time to arrange the remaining amount.

The panchayat asked Phulwanti to press molestation charges against Budhan.

Under pressure, the victim was made to say that Budhan had held her hand.

Phulwanti's trauma didn't end here.

She said the panchayat imposed a fine of Rs 3,000 on her and told her to host a feast for them as punishment. When she refused, she was beaten up. The police said even the women of the village thrashed her.

Phulwanti's mother-who lives in a nearby hamlet-got to know of her woes and came to the village to rescue her.

Sakuna begged the panchayat members to spare her daughter. Instead, the panchayat stripped both of them.

Yadav said the sarpanch also labelled Phulwanti as characterless in a written order and asked the villagers to boycott her socially. "The police swung into action after receiving information about the torture," the officer in-charge of the Chandramandih police station said.

The panchayat members also tried to chop off the women's hair, but couldn't do so after some villagers intervened.

"We have arrested the sarpanch and three others. We are also trying to get a copy of Thakur's order in which he stated Phulwanti was of loose morals," Yadav added.

The incident comes close on the heels of a case in which a woman was stripped in the Katihar district.

CBI put in the dock for weak prosecution in Khairlanji case

Nagpur, July, 16 : Even as Dalit organisations decry the Khairlanji killings case judgment, the 131-page judgment clearly mentions that the CBI, by not challenging the acquittal of the accused by the trial court under section 354 (outraging the modesty of a woman) of the IPC, “made it difficult” for the high court “to uphold its appeal” against the lower court’s order, finding the caste atrocity charge untenable.

The Nagpur high court bench comprising justice AP Lavande and justice RC Chavan said the prosecution evidence does not establish that the accused murdered Surekha and her three children because they belonged to the scheduled castes. Which is why, the judges said in their order, they can’t uphold the appeal against the lower court’s acquittal of the accused in the crime.

The CBI had filed an appeal petition before the high court when the capital punishment awarded by the Bhandara trial court to the six convicts in the case came up for confirmation. The CBI filed an appeal against the acquittal by the lower court in the offences under the relevant sections of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, and also sought an enhancement of punishment of the two who were awarded life imprisonment, to death. But the CBI did not appeal against the acquittal of the convicts under offences punishable under the aforementioned Section 354, which made its argument, that the convicts intended to insult the victim, weak. The trial court had also said in its judgment that the killings were not an outcome of caste hatred.


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